Northern Macedonia (until 2019 Macedonia). An infected
conflict between the ruling center-right party VMRO-DPMNE
and the Social Democratic opposition party SDSM intensified
at the beginning of the year. According to
Countryaah, the SDSM continued a boycott
of Parliament which was initiated when the budget was
adopted during a tumultuous session in December and
announced that it intended to boycott the municipal
Violent protests erupted when the ethnic Albanian and
former rebel leader Talat Xhaferi was appointed Minister of
Defense in February. Ethnic Macedonians claimed that it was
inappropriate for a man who led rebels in fighting the army
to become its chief.
Only in early March was the political deadlock resolved,
after mediation by the EU. The parties agreed to restore
order in Parliament. Despite the settlement, SDSM members
demonstrated a few weeks later when the state prosecutor
decided to file a lawsuit against the Speaker brought after
the budget wreck.
In the municipal elections held in March and April,
VMRO-DPMNE and its allies won in 53 of 81 municipalities.
Former Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski left the post of
party leader in SDSM after the election as a result of the
party's poor election results.